There are moments in this life when your heart just feels full.
Moments when all the emptiness and aching that life holds falls away, leaving us spinning ’round in the light, arms stretched wide.
God blessed me with a couple of those moments today.
Today, on the day Americans cut into turkeys and clasp hands with loved ones, hugging away the miles in between here and there, and laughing away the shadow of the days we’ve spent apart.
It’s a good kind of day and in the very best way God reminded me of all the ways He has made my life sweeter than apple pie today.
There I was, on a Texas back road, in the backseat of a beat up van, dust in the air and the smell of baking all caught up in my hair. Daddy was singing to the country music on the radio, and Mama flipped open the mirror to check on her hair, and it hit me.
What a beautiful moment it was.
What a beautiful gift, the sharing of a space with people who love me fiercely. What a beautiful part of my story they are. What a joy to drive forward on dirt roads with them. And what a majestic miracle that God chose that moment, seemingly insignificant and unassuming, to remind me of the ways that I am blessed.
In the little things.
In the huge things.
In the quiet moments when I fall in love with life all over again.
The other moment happened in the kitchen of a family that does not share blood with me, but is my family in a million ways that blood cannot change. The little ones were all gathered around the desserts on the island, and the flurry of plates and plastic forks and pie preferences was chaotic, and it could not have been more beautiful to me.
The chaos was perfect. And I felt so joyful to be a part of it.
So joyful that God gifted me with the people in that kitchen.
The children sitting in those chairs.
The hands of those children which have held mine.
I am so blessed that I have been able to hold those hands.
And I remember the first time I held the little girl with the little brown curls in a hospital room. I remember crying, because as I held her I felt like I was getting to see something magical.
And that feeling hasn’t faded.
After four years and three more pairs of precious hands I’ve been privileged to hold, I still feel like I’m watching real life magic happen every time I’m lucky enough to spend time with them.
These are the moments when we cry up to God to make our hearts bigger so we can carry enough love to love the incredible people in our lives right.
The Mamas who teach deep laughter, the Daddys who teach true strength, the sisters who show great compassion, the brothers who remind us that God answers prayers in ways we do not expect, the children who keep our sense of wonder alive.
And on this day devoted to giving thanks, I find myself humbled in spirit, heart full, to see myself living such a beautiful life.
-Jessi Sanders 2012